While in Bern, Switzerland in the Summer of 1972, Charles Amirkhanian and his wife Carol Law, interviewed two avant-garde artists who were then working in the area of visual art and sound poetry. Born in 1942, Herbert Distel, had already produced a number of iconic works, including a large Styrofoam egg, which he famously photographed as it floated in a large body of water, as well as his mini museum, a cabinet featuring 500 tiny installations by some of the world’s greatest living artists. Never one to limit himself to one school of art or “alphabet” of ideas, Distel describes the evolution of these two projects, as well as his forays into text-sound composition, promotion of a poorly trained street chanteuse, and his desire to eventually get into film making. One of his sound compositions, “We Have a Problem,” a lengthy tape work that juxtaposes George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with a NASA recording of the ill fated Apollo 13 Moonshot, is heard in its entirety. This is followed by a visit with Anastasia Bitzos, a librarian whose interest in collecting concrete or visual poetry, led her to organize a number of events featuring a variety of sound poets, from which we hear two selections by Claus Bremer and Julien Blaine.
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